Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My twenty year work anniversary

Twenty years....

Launch day of the Sprint network
It is hard to wrap my head around that number thinking how long I have been with my employer as of today. I joined just five years of working after graduating college to be part of something that at that time was totally new.

Prior to 1996 by law there were only two wireless carriers in each town. That helped things remain stable as this newfangled technology was growing and at the same time limited competition. The government decided more players in the marketplace would reduce prices and increase innovation. Of course the billions of dollars that were to be made in the spectrum auctions were not a bad thing either for Uncle Sam.

I was working for one of the two at the time and thought it would be exciting to be part of a ground up new start opportunity.  

During these last many years I have been part of a lot of changes. I stepped into this company as a newlywed and soon had a house, a son and a growing set of responsibilities and challenges that come with maturing.  

In my work life, I saw a growth of technology and an evolution of my skills thanks to being part of a dynamic industry. I encountered opportunities to explore my abilities and found a path that led me in career areas I would not have imagined early on.

I also experienced the full corporate lifecycle with explosive growth, maturity, decline and now (hopefully) growth again. My job titles and roles have changed many times as the organization changed. Co-workers have come and gone. CEOs have come and gone. In the last fifteen years there has been turmoil and changes with layoffs occurring on average once a year or more.

As a manager I have hired people, fired people, laid people off, celebrated promotions, celebrated life events and consoled life tragedies of peers, managers and subordinates.
In a work world where now the average worker changes employers every 4.6 years according to the U.S. Department of Labor I am an anomaly as are the many others I know that are long time employees here. 

Through it all I have remained singular in my corporate life for reasons I am not sure I even understand.

So how does one stay at one employer for so long, through so much change and still stay engaged, challenged and growing?

Know your purpose
My purpose, mission statement or whatever you may want to call it has evolved over the years as my interests and roles have changed. What has remained the same however is that I have consistently taken time to define why I work and then have used my why as a magnet to pull me forward in my actions and in my growth.

The tumultuous life that is the ever changing world of the wireless industry has resulted over time in a need to constantly adjust my brand as organization shifts. Having a true north by knowing my why has provided focus even when all else around me is seemly in chaos.

Grow your skills through opportunity
My undergraduate degree is in Government from a small regional state college. Not exactly the credentials that will land you that high level corporate position right out of the gate. Fortunately work has provided many growth opportunities through in the trenches experience and formal learning programs. Even better, once I locked into my career path I was able to take advantage of the tuition reimbursement program to go on to a master’s degree in my field of work and later a senior level certification. All debt free and reimbursed by my employer.

Forget luck
“I don’t believe in luck, I believe in preparation” –Bobby Knight
Having faced many staff reductions over the years I would like to say that each time I was chosen to continue it was due to my skills and my performance outcomes. While I have confidence in those I have at the same time stayed prepared by ensuring I am always striving forward, learning and keeping an eye on the external market for new ideas as well as the skills that others see as valuable.

Just as importantly, I have worked to stay forward thinking and positive through good relationships with those in the organization that are influencers and performers. I believe you learn best from those that are excelling in what they do.

Most importantly I have continued to believe in the future. I have steadfastly held that no matter what change may come my way I will be able to handle it and the outcome will result ultimately in a positive impact.

We get back from the world and our careers what we put into it.

No longer after twenty years is there a reward of gold watches, celebrations, pension and retirement. Instead the work continues so therefore I will quietly go about my day and press on while giving my best to the future that has yet to be revealed.   


Really, I would have it no other way. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Happy 21 years to us



This week is our 21st wedding anniversary.

I can clearly remember the days as a teen and later as a young adult longing to have love in my life. I was never much of a ladies guy and there were times when I was sure I would never find the right person. It turns out I did not need to find anyone as thanks to a mutual friend we found each other through a blind date.

Imagine that! A simple lunch set up turning into a lifetime of togetherness. We are proof that it can happen.

Someone this week through e-mail made a comment about our length of marriage success and kiddingly said he should get advice from me. Me being me I could not help but respond with some top of mind thoughts. Here they are
  • Marry the right person to start (people are not fixer uppers)
  • Be partners (no separate accounts; no secrets)
  • Have common interests (hobbies that you do together)
  • Have uncommon interests (Hobbies that make you/her happy and provide “me” time)
  • Honor with actions (Always strive to think positively and speak positively about spouse)
  • Never stop perusing (dates, adventures together, random acts of kindness)
  • Never stop moving forward (plans for the future—dreams)
  • Surround yourself with successful marriages(If we are the average of those around us be around couples that will lift you up)
  • Make sure you are yoked (philosophy on God, money, health, children etc)
  • Marry your spouse and not your career. (Jobs come and go but family should be forever)
  • Communicate
  • Communicate
  • Communicate
Like any couple we have faced many challenges over the years but along the way there has never been any question that no matter what we are in this together and forever. Neither of us would have it any other way.


Happy 21 to us. There is no doubt in my heart that the best is indeed yet to come.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Having an attitude of gratitude


"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Life is a series of up and downs and if you are not currently fighting a storm I can assure you that one is on the way. It is easy while in the midst of a difficult time to forget all that we have in life to be thankful.

That is one reason that for many years now I have begun most days with a mindset of gratitude. Most mornings and especially on Mondays I make an effort to reflect on the many things I have to be thankful about in my life. How can I have a bad week when there is so much good around me?

I affirm daily the good in my life and begin my day with thanks for what I have now and the opportunity to have even more in the future. I do this with a prayer thanking God for the present blessings in my life and for the opportunity a new day represents. Doing so only takes a few minutes of quite reflection.

Example: 

“Thank you Lord for this new day and the new chance to be my best. I thank you today for____________. I will honor this blessing today through my actions, my attitude and my results”

Do I have bad days and times when I am grumpy? Absolutely! These are the days when taking a moment for reflection and appreciation mean the most. The belief in a day of success preset with a reflective moment on something positive begin momentum the right direction. It is on the days when I do not do this that I tend to falter.

A prayer works for me and may work for you as well. At the very least as you begin your day start it by affirming something positive and next state your absolute belief success will follow as you go through your day.


My challenge to you is the try this for a month and see what happens. When negativity creeps into your mind as your day progresses repeat your prayer from the morning and commit to reset your attitude. I know that no matter what storm you are in now or what storm is coming there are things in your life that you have at this moment that you can take 2 - 5 minutes each day to give thanks. Just the fact that you woke up to face another day is blessing as opposed to the alternative. 

Try giving thanks each morning for the next 30 days. You will be amazed at the difference it will make. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Let my life be the proof

While out at lunch the other day I had to pull the car over for a rather long funeral procession. As the police motorcycles, hearse and other cars streamed by the King and Country song “Let my life be the proof of your love.”

Let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You’re made of
How You lived, how You died
Live is sacrificed
So let my life be the proof
The proof of Your love

Some pretty serious words to ponder sitting there in my car at lunch on Monday. I have no idea who was in the hearse or what kind of life that person may have led. Just judging by the number of cars in the procession this was a person of great impact.

 As I waited, I thought a lot about my life. Is it proof? Do others know through my actions what I feel in my heart and say in my head? When the end of my journey comes will I leave any legacy?

Here is the good news. My ride this Monday was far different from the person in the hearse as I was upright and heading into a new week. The procession turned into a motivational Monday moment with a simple reminder that life is too short to be complacent.

Each day is a new chance to make a difference. As long as you are alive you can be a difference maker and be the proof.


What a good reminder to start the week. 


Friday, June 10, 2016

Does following your passion lead to suckatude?

“Just because you are passionate about something doesn’t mean you won’t suck at it” Mike Rowe

I grew up with a passion for music.  My greatest thrill as a youth were the times when I was performing as part of the high school choir, show choir, or the marching band. What an amazing feeling to be in front of hundreds of people and to relish in the accolades of their feedback at the end of each performance. As a senior, my peers were even so kind to vote me as “best male singer”.  

There was only one problem. I actually kind of sucked.

In spite of my great passion for music and my strong desire to be good with an instrument or an amazing singer I did not possess any innate ability to be any good. I have a terrible voice, poor rhythm and a lack of psychomotor skills. Heck, even after four years in the high school band I was never able to fully memorize and play the school fight song. Now that is bad.

Had I followed this passion for music without a realization of my actual ability I surely would have failed.

This is one reason I am such a fan of Mike Rowe’s advice on this video. It is okay to have passion and to follow your dreams. The real key when it comes to our careers is to align passion and dreams with our abilities.



There are people that discover this secret early in life and go on to find fulfillment through an easy path.  For many people however the juncture between ability, passion and dreams happen only after years of trial. For many others, this critical path to fulfillment is never realized due to too much time wasted following the passions and dreams dictated by our societal norms while ignoring their natural gifts.

It has been my observation that to be a real success and experience happiness, we must find what we are good at doing and then become the best we can at doing it.  

I agree with Mike. Find your talent and then your dreams as well as your passion will come.

What do you think?


Oh and by the way, if you happen to find yourself standing near me at church during the time everyone is singing. My apologies in advance. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

An open letter to my state Senator Greg Treat and House Rep Kevin Calvey. District 47/82

Dear Senator Treat and Representative Calvey,

I am a lifelong resident of Oklahoma and a 20 + year resident of your district. My wife as well as my son are graduates of PC North and my son is a current student at OU majoring in engineering. 

I am proud to be part of this community.

At the same time I am deeply saddened for my state due to the apparent ineptitude and lack of courage from our state legislature. It seems there is far more energy spent debating irrelevant issues as opposed to fixing the many real problems we have. 

The facts speak for themselves as we lead the nation in the top 10 in several negative categories including teen pregnancyobesitydivorcesmokingleast fit,least education funding, and on and on. Pretty much look up any statistic that ranks a state negatively and you will find Oklahoma right at the top.  

Lately is seems each day we are the news for legislation that hurts the poor or legislation with intent to create costly lawsuits we cannot afford. 

Never does it seem we hear about our elected legislators coming together to make the hard decisions that are necessary for the state and for our people to not only survive the current state economic and social crisis but to step forward with a positive future.

Unmovable ideology and pandering to the lobbying check writers will not push this state forward. Only true courage to make hard decisions that protect those among us that are the least protected, provide quality education and a revenue stream that ensures balanced economic strength will save us. 

Senator Treat and Representative Calvey this is a time when leaders can rise. The greatest crisis can lead to greatest opportunity to really make a difference. Will that be you?  

I hope that it will and that you and your peers can stop frivolity and instead will do what great leaders through history have always done by putting politics aside and placing the real needs of the people as the priority. 

Failure to do so will only keep us on the road to continued disaster. Senator Treat-Representative Calvey, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Now is the time to make that choice and I for all our sake I hope you make the right one. 

Sincerely 


David Copeland




Friday, January 15, 2016

Transitioning to the Empty Nest

Our first empty nest trip together
2015 was a big year for us as it was the year our son graduated from high school and moved on to college leaving us as empty nesters. 

As the time approached my mind was filled with thoughts  about how our life and potentially our relationship would change. Our only child household had in many ways been centered on the life of our son with activities and the joy of having his friends around.

There are a lot of marriages that are held together by having the child in the middle. That is a great danger if not handled with care which can lead to couples falling apart after the children have gone. On the other side, there are marriages that post children move into a new season that is full of richness and of new adventure together. It can be the beginning of the best of times together as a couple. 

Six months into our empty nest life and our fear of the change has gradually abated. We have grown new relationship habits and continue to look forward to the future while not dwelling in the past. Life is indeed good and just getting better together all the time. 

Here are some key tips that have made the transition work for us.

Have your own life

A lot of couples are so centered on their children that once they are gone they a left with no identity of their own. They have no friends or hobbies or activities that did not center around the child. Key here is to start the transition in the years prior to the child leaving by taking stock in your current life what considering what life will be like once the kids are gone. Trust me that this is not hard since the last couple of years of high school are a blur especially after the driver’s license.

This is a time so encourage the child to do more on their own so they can be prepared for life away from home. Everything from doing their laundry, having a part time job, cooking, budgeting and being away without your guidance is good. The bonus is that you can use this time as a couple to do more together and plan for your future.

Communicate

This can be especially hard for us guys. Fellas you might find this hard to believe but your wife may not be feeling worse or better than you about the change. You will not know how she really feels unless you take some time to ask and just listen. The greatest gift you can give your wife during this transition is to just be present and allow her process her feelings about the change on her own schedule and in her own way. Asking and listening will ensure she knows you support and love her. 

Have a plan

There is nothing more energizing than having a plan for the future. It is the best tool for forward motivation because life is way better when excited about something you are going to do or have in the future. If you have never sat down as a couple and created a written plan for your future now it the time to do it. We broke our plan into categories including places to go, things to do, stuff to buy and financing our future. Make sure to have short term as well as long term goals and things that are big dreams as well as things that are simple possibilities.

Get back to basics

Men this is a time for sure to take stock in yourself and your efforts in the relationship. Perhaps you have been a little lax with being a partner around the house. It might be time to pick up some more responsibility with things as simple as grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning.

Show your wife through your actions and words that you think she is more beautiful and more wonderful than even in the early days of your relationship. Make effort to praise her and to tell her how much you are looking forward to spending the rest of your life with her. It is okay if your life with kids made you strangers to each other. Perhaps it is just time to “date” again and experience the excitement of new beginnings with your spouse.


Yes the transition to the empty nest is a big change but with just a little work and a positive outlook it can be the start of your greatest season yet.